Remembering Dave Hale
I can’t recall any event at St Peter’s which has ever been quite like the commemoration of Dave Hale which we held on Thursday 26th April. Dave – known to his friends as ‘Happy Dave’ – used to sell the Big Issue magazine outside St Peter’s, usually on the afternoon shift. I had got to know him quite well, and can readily endorse all the glowing tributes which have been offered in his memory on social media as well as in St Peter’s itself when we gathered to say farewell. The considerable numbers of people who attended were from a wide range of backgrounds – shoppers, people who worked in local businesses, Big Issue vendors and management staff – which shows just how many people he had talked to and got to know over the years. One of the young Big Issue vendors said, almost in tears, that he felt he had lost a father figure.
With Dave, there was never any pressure to buy a magazine. Indeed selling the Big Issue seemed almost incidental to what gave him most enjoyment, which was simply talking to people. He had time for everyone; he would listen as well as talk. He helped us when there have been problems with drug use and antisocial behaviour around the church. He showed us that selling the Big Issue can be about far more than just providing a hand up rather than a hand out; it can in fact help to build community and bring people together, while at the same time restoring to people like Dave an opportunity to contribute to society.
We at St Peter’s felt deeply honoured that our offer to host this event had received such a wonderful response. The outpouring of love towards Dave, taken from us so suddenly, will not be forgotten.
Reverend Christopher Harrison